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Title: Changes in Under‐Ice Primary Production in the Chukchi Sea From 1988 to 2018

Changes in sea ice thickness and extent have corresponded with substantial changes in net primary production (NPP) in the Arctic Ocean. In recent years, observations of massive phytoplankton blooms under sea ice have upended the previous paradigm that Arctic NPP was driven largely by growth in the marginal ice zone and open water periods. Here, a new 1‐D biogeochemical model capable of simulating ice algal and phytoplankton dynamics both under the ice and in open waters is applied in the northern Chukchi Sea for the years 1988–2018. Over this period, substantial under‐ice (UI) blooms were produced in all but four years and were the primary drivers of interannual variation in total NPP. While NPP in the UI period was highly variable interannually due to fluctuations in ice thickness and the length of the UI period, UI NPP accounted for nearly half of total NPP between 1988 and 2018. Further, years with high UI NPP had reduced annual zooplankton grazing, indicating an intensification in the mismatch between phytoplankton and zooplankton populations and possibly altering the partitioning of food between benthic and pelagic ecosystems. These results demonstrate that the often‐overlooked ice covered period can be highly productive in the Arctic Ocean, and that the northern Chukchi Sea has been amenable to UIB formation since at least 1988.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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